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The Allegation: A number of keys...

Again, this one from Jan Pletcher confuses me. She says I had a number of keys that were never issued to me. That is absolutely false.

First, let's take a good look at how well Taylor keeps track of those precious keys. In the communication department, the secretary kept a small notebook where she wrote down who had what. I can remember one time, one time in about three years that we were collectively reminded to return our keys in at the end of the year (by e-mail). More than one student has graduated and come back to me (when I was still a student) with keys that where never turned in, asking me to return them for them. In general, we were all pretty much careless with them. So was Taylor. I suspect they'd be surprised if they ever did an audit of how many keys have been lost due to their lack of effort to keep track of them.

So, they keys I've had in my time as a Taylor student (and this is from memory). Of course, I always had a key to my residence hall. That was the only one I had my freshmen year. My sophomore year, I received a key to the broadcast quadrant, and RBA key if I remember correctly. My junior year, I received a key to the admissions office. I also received a key to the TWO office.

Later that year, I received a key to the echo office. It opened the building, the outer journalism quadrant door, the Echo office door, and surprisingly, the editor's office door inside the Echo office, too. I didn't need a key to that door, but because I joined the staff so late, the secretary was out of standard staff keys (that only opened the outer two doors). Her exact words to me where, "I can't believe how many Echo keys I've given out this year.

Later, after the Echo's camera was stolen, they began locking the rest of the equipment in the editor's office (up until then the camera's were kept in an unlocked cabinet). One of the photographer's came to me, asking to trade keys. His was a standard key, but he needed easy access to the camera. I said sure, as I didn't need access to the editor's office, and we traded keys. There was a rumor (and I emphasize, this is an unconfirmed rumor) that he reported the key he gave to me as stolen. I'm still looking for confirmation on that.

At one point, I also received a key to the J-lab, from Skip Surguine. He was a one semester professor in the department that Taylor decided not to keep on. That's all I'll say about him. I received the key because one of the counselors in the counseling center, with my permission, talked with a few of my professor's to tell them that I was struggling with classes. I was in Skip's photojournalism class, and told him because of a myriad of peronal issues, I was having difficulty getting into the lab to use the one negative scanner that we had for all of us to complete projects. The lab closed at like 10, and I was just having trouble finding the time -- plus I had to compete with about 10 other people for access. I told him I feared failing and needed to drop the class. He didn't like that idea, and asked if he got me a key to the lab, if it would help. That way, I could come in whenever I wanted. I said it might, but didn't believe they'd ever give me a key. He told me not to worry, that he'd take care of it. A day later, he handed me a j-lab key and told me not to tell anyone I had it, "because everyone would want one."

At the end of that year, I handed my Echo key back into either the editor or the managing editor. I can't remember. They were the only ones that I recall ever actually making an effort to get keys back.

Around the same time, I was walking down the hallway when Donna Downs stopped me, asking if I had a j-lab key. I said yeah, and she asked if I still needed it. I said no, and she asked for it back. I gladly turned it over.

I lived in Swallow that summer and of course received a key there. I also gave it back when I left in July.

I kept my admissions office key for the summer, as I continued to work there. My TWO key was turned into my student co-director at some point. If I recall, she had lost her TWO key and had been using mine for a while.

I received another e-mail the next fall, in DC, from Donna asking for all my keys back. I told her I didn't have anymore keys, I'd given them all back. She responded saying that she was surprised to hear me say that, as she was told I was in out of the communications building all summer. Well, I was -- giving tours. But we used a master key that one of the secretaries in admissions kept in her bottom desk drawer. I used the key to move through the building and show people some of the labs if they requested.

But, I went into my attic and dug through boxes until I found my broadcast quadrant key packed away. It had been in that box since my sophomore year. As soon as I found it, I mailed it off.

Later, I heard from other students who were nagged about keys, too. All I can say, is it was about time. If Taylor isn't more serious about protecting those keys and getting them back, then they need to stop looking for students to blame when things go missing. We'll talk more about that later though -- and how a camera could easily be taken from the Echo. Card board boxes were more secure.

There was a lot of interesting stuff going on with keys that year as I recall. One student told me her j-lab key was stolen off her key ring. Now mind you, she left her keys hanging in an office door for a while. That think I couldn't help thinking about that though, was that she should've turned that key in at the end of the previous year. She told me though, she'd liked having it and didn't want to give it up. I wonder if anyone gave her a hard time about losing a key she wasn't supposed to have in the first place. But then, not everyone in the department was treated as a common thief like I was.